Plastic to energy plants planned for the Netherlands

Pyroil International is in the process of signing contracts to build three waste-to-energy plants in the Netherlands, in Venlo, Waddinxveen and Amsterdam.

The technology to be installed in the facilities is based on the 200 year old system of pyrolysis which has been refined by the company to convert the oil from plastics into energy.

‘Plastic is the best feedstock because it is made out of oil, with the average piece of plastic having 80% oil in it. So if you recrack this plastic you can get the oil that it is made from,’ explains John Kuipers, owner of Pyroil, to Bioenergy Insight.

The byproducts produced from the process, such as the heat and CO₂, can be pumped into a nearby greenhouse for other uses.

‘I’m also funding about 30ha of greenhouse food production. So we’re not only reducing the waste but at the same time we’re producing food,’ says Kuipers.

The company had a hard time finding plastic to use for the plants because there is an excess of incinerators in the Netherlands and therefore a shortage of waste. So Kuipers came up with a unique idea of paying non profit organisations to collect the waste for him.

‘I’ve worked with large non profit groups where they give me relatively clean waste without any water content and I give them €37 per tonne for this. This means they earn money for collecting the waste off the street,’ he says.

The plants are estimated to process about 200,000 tonnes a year of waste in the long term and this has the potential to make non profit organisations about €1 million. If more companies were to operate in this manner, Kuipers says they would have 1.6 million tonnes of waste plastic a year to choose from – the amount the Dutch throw out every 12 months.

‘It is better to do this – something good with the waste – rather than send it to the incinerator,’ he says.

However, in the meantime Kuipers is starting off what he deems ‘small’ production – processing 40,000 tonnes in the plants to begin with, with the aim of doubling this in the short term.

‘We’re starting off small because we can’t get all the waste that we need at the moment but this will grow as time goes on.’

The project is expected to cost $100 million, which Kuipers estimates will be paid off from its production within two to three years. The construction on the first plant is due to start in eight weeks time and scheduled for completion around September 2012.

'It is all being inhouse financed and we are open for other interested parties that are interested but we are very selective with which entities we do business with,' Kuipers adds.

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